While a patient at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, OH, Dr. David Guitar passed from this life into his eternal home on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 at the age of 72.
Dr. Guitar was born on May 2, 1946 in Big Spring, TX to Repps Bedford Guitar, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth (Hurt) Guitar. He graduated from Cooper High School in Abilene, TX and went on to receive a Ranch Management Degree from Texas Christian University in 1966. He continued his education at Tarleton State University from 1966-1968 in Pre Vet studies. He went on to Texas A&M University from 1968-1969 to finish his Pre Vet studies. After Tarleton State University, he attended Texas A&M University where in 1971 he earned his B.S. Degree. In 1972 David earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. David also held a PhD from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.
After completing his education he worked as an Associate Veterinarian for Dr. Robert Mouser at the Deepwood Veterinarian Centre in Clifton, VA in 1972 and in 1973, became an Associate Veterinarian at the Monmouth Equine Hospital in Freehold, NJ.
Dr. Guitar moved back to Texas in 1973 and started Stafford Oaks Veterinary Hospital, Stafford Oaks, Texas. David was the owner and active practitioner of Stafford Oaks Veterinary Hospital from 1973 to 1998, over 25 years of dedicated service. The facility was a 6,000 sq. ft. equine hospital in southwest Houston. David’s practice did not always focus on horses. As a graduate in 1972, the opportunity to specialize was less common. As a result, he had to adapt and be flexible for any and all patients that passed through his door. His practice included a myriad of surgeries including different bird species, snakes, and even zoo animals. David treated African lions, broken legs in iguana lizards, stomach ulcers in gorillas, performed hysterectomies on baboons, vasectomies on monkeys, and healed elephants with kidney disease. The practice gave him the opportunity to develop loving, life-long friendships and help a countless variety of animals. In late 1998 David sold Stafford Oaks Veterinary Hospital and moved to Merkel, Texas, where he had a ranch and new plans to start another veterinary clinic.
In 1998 David founded Guitar Veterinary Services, on his ranch in Merkel. He and Mitzi, his wife of 19 + years, worked tirelessly together building and managing the veterinary clinic while working the ranch at the same time. Dr. Guitar was able to concentrate primarily on horses, specializing in equine sports medicine and reproduction. This was an exciting and fun chapter in David’s and Mitzi’s life. In the summer of 2001 the opportunity to purchase a large equine reproduction clinic in Southern California was too enticing to resist for the ever ambitious Dr. Guitar.
Guitar Veterinary Services relocated to Southern California in 2001 and incorporated the existing practice. This shift in business model proved to be a very different twist for Dr. Guitar. The practice became a completely mobile clinic, specializing in equine reproduction. The average day consisted of David seeing 60 – 100+ horses. He loved the challenging work in California, but Texas held a special place in his and Mitzi’s heart.
In 2004, David and Mitzi relocated Guitar Veterinary Services to Brownwood, TX and closed their California location. Once again, they started immediately to build a veterinary clinic from scratch in their new beloved location in Brownwood. They built a beautiful home and full service clinic in the countryside, a perfect place to care for and heal many of God’s beautiful creatures. The Brownwood clinic left a lasting impression on both David and Mitzi’s lives.
David’s career did not leave much time for extracurricular activities but in spite of that he managed to become an accomplished horseman and successful hunting enthusiast. As a young man he had the opportunity to be schooled in Cutting Horse techniques by Buster Welch. Mr. Welch’s work ethic and showmanship skills left a lifelong impression on David that positively affected both his career and life. David grew up hunting white tail deer and mule deer in West Texas with his older brother Repps Guitar and cousin Johnny Guitar. His love of hunting took him to Africa where he hunted dangerous game in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Botswana.
Sadly, David was advised by his doctors at the Cleveland Clinic to close his practice due to his health issues. He had bravely battled diseases most of his life that eventually led to chronic issues, one of which necessitated a liver transplant. Will Galusha, David’s nephew gave unselfishly of himself by donating part of his liver, which in turn gave Mitzi and David four more devoted years together.
In his last days David, in his typical manner, thought of others first and asked that his body be used as a donor and for research in order to help others.
Dr. Guitar was preceded in death by his parents and one brother Repps Bedford Guitar Jr. Surviving family members include his loving wife Mitzi Guitar of Medina, TX; one daughter, Traci Badine and husband George of California; two grandsons Keller and Connor Tennison of California; one sister, Marilyn Guitar Galusha of Abilene, TX; one brother, Pressley Guitar of Abilene, TX; as well as many nephews, nieces, and cousins. Along with many great friends made over the years, David wanted two special young ladies to be mentioned; Dacia Griffin and Colleen Westfall who worked beside Dr. Guitar and Mitzi for many years in their Brownwood veterinary practice and have remained close in their life.
David was a Member of the following Organizations:
• Texas Veterinary Medical Association—1972-2018
• Texas Equine Veterinary Association
• American Association of Equine Practitioners
• Florida Association of Equine Practitioners
• American Quarter Horse Association
• National Cutting Horse Association
• American Cutting Horse Association
• Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
• Safari Club International – Life Member
• Dallas Safari Club
The family will have a Memorial service for Dr. David Guitar in November.
In lieu of flowers or any other gifts, the family requests donations to be made to the “Mitzi and David Guitar Liver Transplant Research Center Fund” at www.giving.clevelandclinic.org or can be mailed to:
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
PO Box 931517
Cleveland, Ohio 44193-1655